Dec. 24 - A Finnish study shows walking with two poles - so called Nordic walking - could be just the thing to help shed extra pounds piled on over the festive period, especially for middle-aged men. Joel Flynn reports.
STORY: (UPSOUND - CHATTER FROM CHRISTMAS MARKET) Christmas time and in markets and homes many are tucking into a nice bit of festive fare. The season's cost is often as heavy on waistlines as it is on wallets. But forget the guilty gym trip in January -- now 'tis the season for Nordic walking. The sport could be just the thing to help you shed that Christmas weight. That's according to Finnish scientists who conducted a study looking into the sport. The researchers also found that nordic walking could help people at risk of Type 2 diabetes. They say its even more effective than resistance training. (SOUNDBITE)(English) Ph.D. STUDENT AT EASTERN FINLAND UNIVERSITY, MIKA VENOJARVI, SAYING: "We wanted to compare aerobic exercise and resistance training, and walking alone is not effective enough. Nordic Walking has more power -- when you do it your heart rate is raised and you use more energy, and that's why we picked Nordic Walking for this trial." That was Mike Venojarvi, who helped work on the study. He says even just a couple of hours a week could see tangible health benefits. But despite its popularity in Finland amongst older generations, some say it still needs to reinvent its image. Janne Kankaansyrja works at a sports shop in Helsinki. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SALESMAN AT STOCKMANN'S SPORTS DEPARTMENT, JANNE KANKAANSYRJA, SAYING: "I think perhaps not as much as a few years ago, but it's still a very famous sport in Finland. I think older people like it very much, so our problem is how to make this sport more popular with younger people too. That's the main thing in Finland." Until then it looks like many Nordic walkers may be beating their own paths.